Maïtena Dumont obtained a grant from the ’Fondation des Treilles’ for her project entitled ’3D organization of long-bone mid-shaft in extreme terrestrial locomotion conditions’. She will be working as a post-doc in the lab for the rest of 2015. The project is in collaboration with Sophie Sanchez at Uppsala University.

The abstract of the project is listed below:

Despite man’s fascination with giant animals such as elephants and dinosaurs, surprisingly little is known on the processes driving the evolution of giant body forms. Moreover, how bone is organised and maintained in animals faced with the constraints imposed by their giant body size remains unknown. Yet, these animals need to not only support their own body mass but also face extremely high peak loads during locomotion. Understanding the vascularization patterns of the long bones in these animals and understanding how the vascularisation allows these animals to maintain their bone mass and organization is at the heart of the project proposed here. In order to study the relations between bone microstructure, its organisation, and overall body mass and locomotor constraints, limb long bones from different fossil and extant animals will be investigate using X-Ray microtomography. The use of extant animals for which locomotion patterns are known will allow me to relate differences in the vascular system organisation to differences in locomotion. The specific investigation of different ontogenetic stages will moreover provide insights in the influence of bone remodelling on the integrity of the structure. By comparing data on living giants with large fossil forms such as sauropod dinosaurs and early tetrapods this project will provide novel and unique insights into the evolution and maintenance of gigantism.